End of life planning is not an easy thing to face. However the responsibility that falls upon whomever is in charge of planning a funeral can be overwhelming. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the cost of a basic adult funeral has gone from $708 in 1960 to $6,500 in 2009. Currently it is estimated to be in the $7,000-$15,000 range depending on the location, casket and/or burial choice. Below are some pros and cons of planning a funeral before death that may help you decide on this often uncomfortable subject.
Emotions Run Rampant
Pro – Planning a funeral before death, allows loved ones to mourn rather than struggle with how they can afford a funeral out of their own pocket or who are the appropriate people to notify.
Con – Many people feel that planning for death is superstitious and disturbing. They feel more comfortable “crossing that bridge” when it happens.
Pro – The financial burden could be alleviated when plans are put into place. A family plot can be reserved so all immediate members are together. A POD (payable-on-death) savings plan can be setup to avoid probate and immediately payout to the beneficiary upon the presentation of a certificate of death. There is also a Final Expense Policy (FEP) another savings program that has a lower payout. It covers most basic funerals and requires less of an investment.
Con – Money can go to more immediate concerns. Plus, if a family member moves it could be a geographical financial loss. The beneficiary has complete control and is not obligated to spend the inherited assets on funeral costs including a POD or FEP.
Pro – Owning a good life insurance policy will often payout more than enough to cover funeral costs.
Con – Life insurance payouts can take time requiring someone to come up with the funeral cost until they can be reimbursed.
Pro – A Pre-need contract offers a pre-purchase that covers everything from a casket, vault or cremation to cemetery merchandise and services.
Con – Pre-need contracts have been associated with funeral home pre-pay scams.
Pro – Paying for a funeral beforehand can end up saving money as inflation surpasses the original buy in. Also, setting up specific instructions such as who to contact in a will or through instructions given to a family spiritual advisor can make the experience run a lot smoother.
Con – An pre-payment can result if the intended funeral is not adhered to according to plan. (i.e. a casket is paid for and the deceased has requested a cremation). Also, spiritual advisors can change or die and the process of transferring these instructions can be neglected resulting in a funeral that is inadequately carried out.
These pros and cons of planning a funeral before death are a good start at contemplating end of life decisions. If it is considered now it can help those involved. If it is neglected, it could possibly take care of itself when the time arises.
About the Author: Blondell Bruschke is works at a funeral home and knows how tough it can be for family members to choose a casket, funeral details, and more. Planning your own service in advance will ensure your end of life remembrance is the way you’d like it to be while removing stress from your family.